Eight to ten inches of snow a year, on average…

Before I say anything else today, I want to give due credit to Deb for taking care of me yesterday. Since Saturday both of us have been suffering through some sort of upper-respiratory funk, the first time in three years either of us has been truly sick, and I woke up yesterday with the worst migraine I’ve had since we hit the road.

Ordinarily I’m a suck-it-up kinda guy, but not this time — I confined myself to bed, occasionally making the four-foot trek to the head. It wasn’t pretty.

Deb, despite feeling like shit herself, checked in on me often and brought me fresh ice packs. Even more admirable, she wrangled the dogs, including the wild Smudge puppy, throughout the day and into the night.

I didn’t so much as sit up ’til 8pm last night. And I didn’t leave bed ’til this morning.

Don’t feel bad for me. I’d rather you recognize, as I do, how fortunate I am to have this wonderful, compassionate, undeniably tough woman in my life.

Sometime Sunday evening, before I hit the skids, I ran across an interesting bit of practical information on the wwWeb. You may recall that last year we bought a hitch-mount cargo basket to use with the Wrangler, long before we had (or even contemplated) the Silverado. At the time I suggested that we’d also use it with the Ranger.

That, as it turns out, probably would be a lousy idea.

The Ranger’s receiver, according to the specs, will handle a tongue weight of 150 pounds. Forces exerted on the hitch by a trailer, which are partially supported by the wheeled load being towed, are quite different than the physics of an unsupported, “cantilevered” load with the same tongue weight.

I found a calculation for a 100-pound cantilevered load that estimated the dynamic stress on the hitch to be over 1,200 pounds. That’s why Ranger owners who use cargo baskets are breaking their receivers.

And that’s why we won’t be hanging a basket off of ours.

It’ll still be useful with the Jeep and the truck, of course. When we need to expand the Ranger’s cargo capacity, we have a cart.

I looked it up — Harrison, Arkansas gets an average of eight inches of snow from December through February, with another couple of inches falling outside that window. While wintering here last year, however, we saw over three feet of The White Stuff, including two storms that brought us a foot each.

We have significant snow (by northern Arkansas standards) coming tonight. Some forecasts call for as much as 12 inches, give or take, and I’ll bet the higher elevations see something close to that. We’re lookin’ at probably five to eight in Boone County, with The Mountain (in Marion County) getting about the same.

And so we’ve adjusted our plans for the next few days. In particular, we postponed Smudge’s appointment tomorrow with our veterinarian in Midway ’til next Wednesday. We pulled in the awnings and dumped the waste-water tanks so I won’t have to crawl around in the snow to do that.

If it works out, I’d like to get over to The Mountain before it all melts (and it likely won’t stick around long). We did that a couple of times last year, and it was exhilarating — running the Ranger up the snow-covered trail, tracking critters through the woods.

This may be The South, but we do get four distinct seasons in Ozarkansas. The short days here come with cold and snow — nothing like the climate we left or, for that matter, where we grew up, but it’s still winter. By the numbers these last two have been well outside the norms, so maybe, just maybe, things will moderate in the coming years, once we’re settled up on The Mountain.

An old man can dream, right?

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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